This is my opinion about Daft Punk’s latest album, called “Random Access Memories”, and how it’s been received by music critics worldwide.
I’ve never liked Daft Punk too much. Frankly, I could’ve done without all the Harder Better Faster Stronger videos. But it was a matter of taste more than anything, taste on a band that sounded at least superficially innovative.
Daft Punk have always been hyped. I’ve heard many times people saying that they’re rad, that they’re cool. (Note: I’ve never heard anyone explain why that is the case.)
So when their latest album, Random Access Memories, came out in 2013 the hype machine had been working feverishly for months, making it one of the most anticipated albums in recent times.
RAM is an album based on high profile collaborations (Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers of Chic fame, Pharrel Williams, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and the list goes on) and a revival of 70s disco sounds.
Daft Punk aren’t new to the 70s element, in fact, it appears that they have been always influenced by disco music; this time, though, it’s a total change of pace from their house-oriented stylings, because RAM is a disco\soft-rock affair through and through.
I won’t make a track-by-track analysis because I don’t think it’s relevant to the interests of the article, and anyway you can probably scavenge tons of those on the wild internets, so let me just say without further ado that the album is a mess.
Yes, Random Access Memories is a completely mediocre album, an overlong collection of songs made up of 70s tropes and the same 4 chords over and over.
The lyrics are rather inane and may cause neuron loss in case of prolonged exposure (listen: Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance), and thankfully that’s something that reviewers seem to agree on.
Despite the celebrity collaborators, the songwriting falls flat: it’s not an exaggeration to say that good part of the album recycles the same (or very similar indeed) four chords found in Get Lucky.
It’s supposed to be an easy listening album, sure, but it comes off as downright lazy and boring when it’s not busy aggrandizing itself like in Giorgio by Moroder, a track that feels like a medley of 70s clichès introduced by an interview with Moroder himself. Curiously, the dance legend talks about being free from creative constraints, something that Daft Punk cannot quite achieve in the album.
So RAM is a boring and mediocre album that recycles cheesy soft rock tropes in an attempt to “Give life back to music”, in their own words.
Okay, fine, duds happen to anyone! So what’s the problem then?
What irks me is that this album has been hailed as innovative and a classic, often receiving perfect marks. Apparently merely copying 70s disco without adding anything original to the formula is the hallmark of a classic album.
Just listen to the originals (namely Earth Wind and Fire, Giorgio Moroder himself and the list is pretty much endless) already, you’ll find much more innovative and valuable music in there. Sure, it might be cheesy, but so is Daft Punk - except that Daft Punk weren’t making music in the 70s.
By all means, enjoy RAM if you want to - just do me a favor don’t go around yelling that it’s a masterpiece.